The article presented here today is a direct lift (without the Wikipedia note) from Chapter Two, Section Four: ‘Babylonian History From Ashurbanipal to Amel-Marduk‘ of ‘The King’s Calendar: The Secret of Qumran.’ (What is the King’s Calendar?) That chapter is freely available online and can be found in the Chapter Precis Page.
This section forms an extended part of references used in other articles on this new website, including How, When, where Did King Josiah Die? The issue of Kandalanu’s reign is quite significant within the King’s Calendar reconfiguration of the chronology of the Ancient Near East.
A précis of Babylonian Kings.
Ashurbanipal, king of Assyria was also king of Babylon. His brother Samash-sum-ukin was his Babylonian Regent. After an unsuccessful rebellion, Samash-sum-ukin chose suicide in preference to surrender. Upon his death, it became necessary for Ashurbanipal to appoint a replacement.
That replacement was named Kandalanu. When he eventually died, there was a brief period of uncertainty in Babylon, until Nabopolassar was proclaimed king. Eventually he was succeeded by his son Nebuchadrezzar, who in turn was succeeded by Amel Marduk.
The Challenge to Current Chronology.
The fact that the ‘King’s Calendar’ can find mathematical justification for shortening Nebuchadrezzar’s reign from forty-three to forty-two years is on its own, insufficient to justify such an alteration. Such an insistence must also be compatible with, or possible within, what are understood to be the ‘facts’ of Babylonian History.
Within those facts of Babylonian history there is leeway to allow for this proposed change and it is to be found in records relating to the reign of Kandalanu. Current chronologies for the reigns of Kandalanu, Nabopolassar and Nebuchadrezzar are based totally on academic speculation, not ‘chronological fact.’
To view a discussion on academic speculation refer to Secret of Qumran Chapter 15./ 2. Reasonable Assumption or Actual Proof?
The Reign of Kandalanu.
It is the chronological placement of the reign of Kandalanu that determines the reigns of Nabopolassar and Nebuchadrezzar and by extension, the success or failure of the biblical narratives to synchronise with Babylonian records. The pivotal date concerns the ascension of Kandalanu in Babylon, for it is with this date that the balance of the Babylonian data synchronises.
However, argument in relation to this event aside, the fact is that not even his identity is certain. According to Roux.G. (1982), Kandalanu is the name by which Ashurbanipal ruled in Babylon from 648 BC onwards. Wiseman (1961, p89) however indicates that Kandalanu was Ashurbanipal’s appointee, immediately upon the death of Shamash-sum-ukin in 648 BC. This disagreement in identifying Kandalanu is significant for it impacts directly upon his reign, and specifically, upon his accession date.
* Roux.G. (1982) Ancient Iraq. Suffolk. Penguin Books p..308 Citing: Oates.J. (1965) Iraq XXVII ‘Assyrian Chronology 631-612BC.p135-59 -and – Reade.J. (1970) JCS CCIII ‘The Accession of Sinsharishkun’ pp 1-9.
** Wiseman.D.J. (1961) Chronicles of the Chaldaean Kings (626-556 BC) in the British Museum. Trustees of the British Museum. London,
The significance of establishing the identity of Kandalanu is to be found in the matter and timing of his vice-regal or perhaps regal appointment. If he is in fact Ashurbanipal the Babylonian record would accept 648 BC. (the year in which Samash-sum-ukin died) as his accession year. (This is the current chronological perspective – As per the chart below).
This would make 647 BC his first regnal year and 627 BC. his 21st regnal year. The interregnum (Wiseman,1961, p.90), counted as the ‘Twenty-second year after Kandalanu’ and as Nabopolassar’s accession year, would have been 626 BC.
Nabopolassar’s first egnal year would be 625 BC, and his last year would be 605 BC.
As a result, Nebuchadrezzar’s accession year would be 605 BC; his first regnal year would be 604 BC, and as his reign ended in 562 BC, he can be seen to have reigned Forty-Three (43) years.
However, if he was Ashurbanipal’s appointee, it is not at all necessary for him to have been appointed ‘immediately‘ upon Shamash-sum-ukin’s death.
* Wiseman (1961, p89) believes that Kandalanu was appointed to rule Babylon immediately after its capture by Ashurbanipal and the death of Samas-sum- ukin in 648 BC. The date provided is 19/20th July 648 BC cited from: JNES (Journal of Near Eastern Studies) III, p.39 This however is only an opinion or a presumption. Refer to: Bates.F. (1985) Principles of Evidence. 3rd Edition. Sydney The Law Book Company Limited. p.46 ‘In general terms, a presumption is simply the assumption of the truth of a particular fact and hence, in the law of evidence, the effect of a presumption will be to establish a fact without proof.’ – and see – Ligertwood. ALC (1988) Australian Evidence First Edition Butterworths Pty. Ltd. North Ryde ‘In discussing ‘opinion evidence’ Ligertwood makes it clear, that opinions are ‘subjective inferences drawn from primary trace evidence,’ which is to say, that opinion is an attempt to establish a fact from other facts.
** Because records for this period are imperfect, all authentic records about Kandalanu consist of date formulae and one damaged chronological inscription. In later chronological inscription he is sometimes mentioned but also forgotten, most notably in the Harran inscription that seems to list Babylonian kings of the sixth century. The lack of sources and few information they do give makes it difficult to find out who Kandalanu was.
If we were to presume that it took some months for Ashurbanipal to appoint Kandalanu, then 647 BC. may have been his accession year. In this case his first regnal year fell in 646 BC. His twenty-first regnal year (during which he died) will have been 626 BC. It is at this point we note that Nabopolassar’s accession years is counted as the 22nd year of Kandalanu (Wiseman, 1961, p 89)., and this therefore is 625 BC.
Nabopolassar then reigns until 604 BC, when Nebuchadrezzar ascends the throne, to commence his first regnal year in 603 BC.
Note: This perspective provides the necessary one year adjustment to Wiseman’s chronology without changing the chronologies of Shamash-sum-ukin in Babylon and Ashurbanipal in Assyria.
Without definitive proof that Kandalanu is Ashurbanipal, current chronology cannot be impregnably defended and even if ‘proven’ that he was in fact Ashurbanipal, there is sufficient precedence to mistrust the chronological data as to allow for the mathematical demonstration of the ‘King’s Calendar.’
If the dates calculated for Kandalanu, or the understanding of ‘the year in which there was no king’ (after Kandalanu’s death), or the understanding or interpretation of various business contracts is incorrect, then the reigns of Kandalanu, Nabopolassar and Nebuchadrezzar, from 648 BC to 587 BC will be incorrect.
The following chart “Reigns as ‘Currently’ perceived and as ‘Suggested’ by the ‘King’s Calendar'” may help in understanding the situation. The columns in purple equate with current chronology whilst the columns in blue equate with the King’s Calendar perspective.
While the success of the ‘King’s Calendar’ chronology for this period depends upon Wiseman’s determination that Kandalanu is Ashurbanipal’s appointee, it must insist that Kandalanu’s accession date remain open until the chronologies of Kandalanu, Nabopolassar and Nebuchadrezzar can be more conclusively verified by direct documentary evidence.
To understand the importance of ‘verified by direct documentary evidence‘ refer to Rules of Evidence Part 1.
The immediate effect of an alteration to the current chronological placement of the reigns of Nebuchadrezzar and his father is that it alters the date for the ‘Battle of Carchemish’ in the 17th year of Nabopolassar. Currently the significance to biblical chronology of this battle is that it is directly tied to the death of King Josiah of Judah. It is to this issue that we must now turn, for not only does a shift in the chronology of Nebuchadrezzar effect the timing of the battle of Carchemish, but the ‘King’s Calendar’ indicates that current academic insistence that Josiah died in that particular year, is incorrect.